5 Things You Didn’t Know About #AwesomeAmazonAuthor @MsFelicia #Giveaway


5 Things

Feel like you know me better now? YAAY!

And the Mel Gibson-thing? True story… only it was more of damn-near-knocked-him-down!

I was rushing back to work after lunch, hands full with handbag, coffee mug, and book. I bumped the counter-gate which led into the inner-office with my hips and sort of… spun through the gate.

Guess who was on the other side? OOPS!

I apologized and headed for the lounge but was caught off-guard by every woman in the office running towards me.

Office excitement – YES!

When I asked what was going on, it was my dear, dear friend and coworker, Rosalind, who responded, “Fool! You and those hips of yours just almost knocked down Mel Gibson!” (Rosalind had such a way with words.)

I glanced back over my shoulder and it was indeed Mel Gibson… still standing near the counter-gate. I’m not one to be easily embarrassed, but when he threw me a tiny three-fingered wave, it was all over. I ran to the lounge and stayed there until he left the office.

Of course, it was wise, old, office sage, Rosalind, who sought me out.

“What do you have to say for yourself, troublemaker?”

“He’s short.” (I couldn’t help myself!)

There! that’s the whole story that’s fit to print!

~~~~~~~~~~

Goodreads Giveaway

My #AwesomeAmazonAuthor friends and I had so much fun with our June giveaway, we’re doing it again only this time it’s 5 Authors – 5 Follows – 5 Days on our Goodreads pages! Today is the LAST day to enter and tomorrow one lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Will it be you?

You can’t win if you don’t ——->ENTER!

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Read an excerpt of Boardwalk Summer #contemporaryromance from Kimberly Fisk @pumpupyourbook

Boardwalk Summer

Title: BOARDWALK SUMMER

Author: Kimberly Fisk

Publisher: Berkley/Penguin

Pages: 352

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

In the town of Tranquility Bay, summer is the season of second chances… Single mother Hope Thompson has built a happy life for herself and her twins in beautiful Tranquility Bay, Washington. She doesn’t dwell on her painful past—especially not on the man who broke her heart all those years ago. But when Hope’s beloved son needs help, she takes a desperate chance and reaches out to her children’s father. Nick Fortune lives life in the spotlight as a champion race car driver. He’s shocked to hear from Hope and even more surprised to learn that he’s a father. He immediately heads to the Pacific Northwest to confront the past—and the woman he once loved. There, on the quiet lakeshore, Nick and Hope must work together to save their son—even if it means facing their complicated past—for a second chance as a family.

PRAISE FOR BOARDWALK SUMMER

“It was late. I only meant to take a peek but ended up reading BOARDWALK SUMMER in one delicious gulp, and I’m still thinking about the characters. A terrific read. Page turning and deeply emotional. You’ll fall in love with these characters who have so much at stake. Highly recommended.” Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Grab a copy!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Boardwalk Summer teaser

Excerpt

The phone felt heavy in Hope Thompson’s hand. She traced the buttons, unconsciously pausing at the numbers that would soon connect her to a voice she hadn’t heard in nearly sixteen years.

She thought about shutting herself away in a closet. Maybe then, if she was hidden with only darkness surrounding her, this call wouldn’t be so hard to make. But Hope knew darkness did not shut out memories—if anything, it enhanced them, becoming a large ebony canvas that allowed them to play over and over in her mind until sleep was impossible.

She reached for her cup of tea on the end table next to the sofa and took a sip. It was cold. She was halfway off the couch to reheat it before she stopped. Stalling. That was what she was doing. She sat back down, grabbed the phone, and dialed quickly before she lost her nerve.

“Hello?”

Hope’s grip tightened. Sixteen years. It had been sixteen years since she’d heard her mother’s voice, but it felt as if it were yesterday. “Hello, Mo—Claire.”

There was a long pause and then, “Charlotte, is that you?”

A pain settled in Hope’s chest. Why had she believed her mother would recognize her? “No. It’s me. Hope.”

A faint crinkling drifted across the phone line, and Hope knew it was her mother shifting positions on the sofa’s plastic protector. “Hope?”

“I know, Claire. It’s been a long time.”

After so many years, there should have been a thousand things they had to say to each other. A million tiny details that had filled their lives and the lives of the two grandchildren her mother had never wanted to meet. Instead, Hope didn’t know where to begin—what to say. Should she start with: Your grandchildren’s names are Joshua and Susan, and they are bright and beautiful and make me so proud every day. Or: They will be sixteen in a few months, and they can’t wait to get their drivers’ licenses. Joshua loves football, music, and cars. He has his first steady girlfriend, and I don’t know if that makes me happy or scared. And Susan. She’s everything I wish I could be. She’s confident and smart and funny. She was elected class president, and captain of her soccer team for the second year in a row.

But Hope knew what she should tell her mom was the complete truth: My whole life is about to fall apart for the second time and this time I need you. We need you. Please don’t send us away again.

She was thirty-two years old and still she hesitated, not wanting to face the rejection she knew she’d hear in her mother’s voice. So instead, she heard herself asking, “How have you been?”

“Been good. Been real good except for my garden. With this terrible heat spell we’ve been going through, I should have mulched, that’s what I should’ve done. Sue Ellen down at the Piggly Wiggly told me she was going to mulch but I thought for sure I wouldn’t need to. I got an air conditioner last week. You got one?”

An air conditioner. After all these years, her mother wanted to know if she owned an air conditioner. “No, I don’t.”

“Well, don’t suppose you’d have much use for one up there in the Pacific Northwest. Not with all that rain. Never could understand why anyone would choose to live in a place that rained nine months out of the year.”

“I didn’t choose.”

Claire ignored Hope’s comment, as she had with anything she found unpleasant. “Well now.”

Why had she even bothered to hope that her mother had changed? That small crack in her heart—the old hurt that would never completely heal—wedged open a fraction more. “Aren’t you going to ask about your grandchildren?”

There was a long pause. “My show just got over, Hope. I need to go. If I don’t leave right after the third hymn, I’ll be late to the committee meeting. I made my special pineapple rum cake, though I didn’t add the rum because Pastor Gilbert may stop by. I don’t believe he’d take kindly to us ladies consuming outside of the sacramental wine.”

“Their names are Joshua and Susan.”

“I have to go, Hope.”

“Wait.” Hope closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Please, Mama, I need your help.”

A soft whoosh of air filled the earpiece. “My help?” Another pause. “Well, Hope Marie, you’re a big girl now. I don’t see how I can be of any help. I thought you were doing just fine up there in Washington.”

“We’re not fine.” Hope could feel her entire life crumbling away like a dry sand castle. “My son has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. The doctors told us our best hope for a match is with a family member.”

Silence filled the phone lines. “Leukemia? I always knew something like this would happen. Didn’t I tell you?”

You keep that baby, Hope Marie, and something bad will happen. You just wait and see. Should have named you Hopeless because that’s what you are—hopeless.

Hope wasn’t seventeen anymore; this time she wasn’t going to let her mother refuse to help.

“What about your other one?” her mother asked. “His sister? Being twins and all, wouldn’t she do?”

Hope swallowed, praying the bitter taste in the back of her throat would go away. “Susan and I aren’t a match.” Did her mother really think Hope wouldn’t have explored every other option before contacting her?

“Well, I just don’t see how I can be of any help. I’m not much for doctors. I couldn’t even go and see Pastor Gilbert’s wife before she passed away, God rest her soul. All those smells and sick people. Really, Hope, you know how they affect me. Besides, don’t they have radiation or something for this? When Hester Pritchett’s second cousin down in Alabama got the cancer, they did something that fixed her right up. I do believe Hester said she lost all her hair but really, Hope, she didn’t go asking her relatives for help. No, I don’t see how I can be of any help.”

Hope gripped the phone so tight she was surprised it didn’t shatter. She kept her voice deadly calm, knowing it was the only way to deal with Claire Montgomery. “Joshua has had chemotherapy, Mother. It didn’t work.”

“Maybe you aren’t taking that boy to the right doctors.”

“My son’s name is Joshua and I have taken him to the very best doctors.”

“There’s no need for that tone with me. All I was saying, maybe you should take him to one of those specialists.”

“We’ve seen the specialists. And they agree that what my son needs is a bone marrow transplant.”

Her mother could ignore Hope all she wanted. She could continue to pretend to her church friends that her only child hadn’t gotten pregnant at seventeen but instead had graduated early and received a full scholarship to some college far, far away. She could go on living that lie, but if she thought for one moment Hope would let her refuse to help her grandson, she was mistaken.

“I still don’t know why you’re calling me when you should be calling that man.”

“What man, Mom?”

An impatient grunt came across the line. “Their father, that’s who. Call him.”

Their father.

For just a moment Hope’s heart ached. “I need all of Joshua’s relatives to be tested. The initial test to see if you are a match is simple. All you have to do is go to your doctor and explain what you need done. I can call him, or I can have Joshua’s doctor call and explain if that would be easier.”

“This is not a problem that concerns Dr. Brown.”

Hope sighed tiredly. “I thought you might feel that way. Joshua’s doctor gave me the name and number of a colleague in St. Paul. Call him, please, and set up an appointment as soon as you can. I will arrange for a taxi to take you.” Hope gave her mother the doctor’s name and telephone number.

“How much will this cost?”

“Don’t worry about the money. If your insurance doesn’t cover it or even if you don’t want to submit the claim, I’ll pay for it. It won’t cost you a cent to see if you can save your grandson.”

Hope had no idea where she’d come up with the money, but she’d find it somehow.

“You know I live on a fixed income. My question isn’t a bit out of line.”

“I know, Mama. I know.”

A heartbeat of silence filled the air. And then another. Enough time to say I’ve missed you or I love you.

When it became apparent her mother wasn’t going to say anything else, Hope said, “Call the doctor—”

The other end of the phone disconnected before Hope could finish.

About the Author

Kimberly Fisk

A past recipient of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart Award, Kimberly Fisk is the bestselling author of Lake Magic. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, and too many four-legged critters to count.

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Boardwalk Summer.

 

 

Launch Party Mega Blitz! Lots to Read and Lots to Win #Giveaway

Welcome to the Launch Party Mega Blitz!

Blitz #1

Ak author pic

The Old Man at the End of the World by A.K. Silversmith

Genre: Short Story/ Comedy-Horror/ Zombies/ Parody

Release Date: February 16, 2017

Blurb:

THE GOOD LIFE meets DOUGLAS ADAMS meets SHAUN OF THE DEAD! – Dave F, Amazon

Gerald Stockwell-Poulter couldn’t help but feel it was extraordinary just how quickly his life had changed. One moment he was earthing up leeks in the West Sussex sunshine and the next he was rooted to the spot as Rodney Timmins from the end allotment ambled towards him, arms outstretched, blood pouring from a hole in his neck and a look in his eye which suggested that he was less after help and more after a helping of Gerald.

Now, as Gerald’s life takes a quick turn for the worse, he must do things he has never done before. After 87 largely well-behaved years as a model citizen, less than four hours into the ‘zompocalypse’ and he has already killed a neighbour, rescued a moody millennial drug dealer and forged an unlikely allegiance with a giant ginger Scotsman. And it isn’t even tea time.

Join Gerald as he and his newfound allies navigate the post-apocalyptic English countryside in their hilarious bid to stay off the menu.

Grab a copy → Amazon

Add to Goodreads → Here

About the Author

AK Silversmith is the author of The Old Man at the End of the World; a series of zombie apocalypse Bites centering on the world of 87-year-old Gerald Stockwell-Poulter.

Bite 2 is coming soon…

She was born in Tasmania in 1983 and now lives in western Ireland where the weather is similar but the zombies are still absent.

I have also put an author interview on my site if anyone is interested in more info.

Stalk the author → website

Blitz #2

Angie book cover

Roadside by Angie Dokos

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Romance

Release Date: May 6, 2017

Blurb:

Roadside blurb: Zayne finds Serena’s lifeless body off the side of the road one morning. She has been beaten and left for dead. As she recovers, they become the best of friends. It doesn’t take long for Zayne’s feelings to grow stronger. Will the fear of ruining their friendship keep them from taking a chance on love?

Grab a copy → Amazon

Add to Goodreads → here

About the Author

Angie author pic

Angie Dokos was born a reader and grew to be a writer. Okay, so the reading took a few years, but in the meantime, she was having someone else read to her. She enjoys hiking and loves to travel. She currently lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area with her husband and children.

Stalk the author!

Blog ~ Website ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon Author Page

Giveaway

signed paperback for US residents and a kindle version for international

Enter here

Blitz #3

Angelina cover

Seven Hours: Challenge Accepted by Angelina Kerner

Release Date: July 31, 2016

Genre: Chick-lit/women’s fiction

Blurb:

One pill every 7 hours. That could be all it takes to give Chanel the chance to finally see the world around her.

Chanel is an independent 19-year-old, despite what her overprotective mother and senator father may think. Being the daughter of a Senator comes with its own problems, one simple afternoon out with friends becomes overwhelming when they’re swarmed by reporters.

Keeping the secret of the experimental treatment close to her chest, she is able to fool everyone but her hawkeyed bodyguard, Leon, that has now been assigned to protect her.

Chanel doesn’t want a bodyguard, but will she get more than she bargained for?

Grab a copy!

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo

About the Author

Angela author pic

Angelina Kerner, a Pisces, was born during the Chinese astrological year of the Snake, which she absolutely adores. Angelina loves snakes, and was once allowed to feed one a rat. That was an experience of a lifetime.

She moved around during her young years from Novosibirsk to Kaluga in Russia. Finally settling in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, her teenage years were spent dancing in troupes and performing on stage. The dances ranged from waltz to tango, from Jewish to Russian, and finally belly dance. She was accepted into six out of seven universities, and decided to stay close to her family. Angelina pursued a psychology degree until she saw graduates working for Starbucks and then decided to pursue another career path in the department of Social Sciences. The difficult coursework, her job, and finding her life partner inspired her to turn to writing which, at the time, wasn’t so much a hobby as a way to escape daily routine.

She worked on countless stories, never really finishing them, but came to understand that flash fiction wasn’t for her. After finding an online community where she met her best friend, her writing flourished, making publication a possible next step. She is now the author of Deity’s Soulmate, a fantasy novel for 18 and over, and of Seven Hours: Challenge Accepted, a chick-lit novella where the main character is disabled. She aspires to publish her other fantasy and crime fiction works soon. Her next project involves a competition for a beautiful phoenix. That novel will, hopefully, make its debut in 2018.

Angelina currently divides her time between her family, work, writing, and a lot of cats. She is also a new mother!

Visit her website at http://www.kernerangelina.com and her blog at http://www.kernerangelina.live

Stalk the author!

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Blog ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads

Giveaway!

 3 kindle copies

 

Enter here!

Blitz #4

Candace Book

Quincey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson (Glass Vault #1)

Genre: YA/ Horror/ Fantasy/ Retelling

Release Date: May 16, 2017

Blurb:

Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie, along with her friend August, go on a pursuit to search for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with their disappearances?

A book that intertwines horror elements and retellings, with humor and darkness

Grab a copy!

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

Add to Goodreads → Here

About the Author

Candace Author pic

Her name is Candace Robinson, obviously. She’s just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. Her days are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books. She lives just outside of Houston, Texas with her husband and daughter, where it feels like the hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it’s 30 degrees and the next it’s 70 degrees! She is also the author of Hearts Are Like Balloons.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Giveaway

$10 Amazon Card & Digital Copy

Enter here!

 

Blitz #5

Didi Cover

Aggravated Momentum by Didi Oviatt

Genre: Thriller/ Suspense/ Murder Mystery/ Mature 18+

Release Date: September 12, 2016

Blurb:

Not everything is as it seems in what appears to be an average family. When danger lurks so close to home, skeletons emerge, and the darkest of secrets surface, causing twisted desires to become reality. Aggravated Momentum offers the perspective of some very diverse and unique characters, including fun, witty personalities to fall in love with, along with an intellectual killer to die for. You may be surprised as to whom exactly you can relate. Is it the cold, calculated murderer, who’s name is yet to be revealed? Markie or Kam, the independent sisters, guilty of nothing more than getting tangled with the wrong people at the most inopportune times? Or, the cowardly snake curled in a hidden corner? Who are you, exactly? And, more importantly, who are they? The deeper you dig into the psyche of another, the more breath taking are the secrets you will find.

Grab a copy!

Amazon

Add to Goodreads → Here

About the Author

Didi Oviatt is a small town gal who married a small town guy. Within a few years of experiencing a new families bliss, she discovered that she had a thirst to write. Now, after digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee(coming soon), Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. Along with a six piece short story collection called the Time Wasters.

And don’t fret: there are two more Lamian novels in the works.

Stalk the Author

Website ~ Amazon Author Page ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Giveaway

1 Signed Print, 2 digital copies

Enter here!

 

Blitz #6

Theresa cover

Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist by Theresa Braun & Mr. Deadman

Genre: Horror Anthology/ Short Stories

Release Date: July 1, 2017

Blurb:

From the time we are young, we fear the monster under the bed or in the closet, making it impossible to sleep without a nightlight. Then, we hear stories of Bigfoot, and maybe even the Mothman around campfires. When we are adults, we wonder if there might actually be supernatural creatures lurking in the shadows. Are these tall tales and urban legends only metaphors for what horrific things humanity is capable of—or do monsters exist?

Go to some terrifying places with this cast of authors. You will be dragged into mystifying realities where demonic fairies hide, where devil monkeys lure carnival-goers to their demise, where Goatmen seek to destroy their prey, and where the goddess of death puts out a hit on victims of her choice. These shocking tales will have you biting your nails and locating that childhood nightlight. Because, in the end, we all know monsters do exist.

Grab a copy!

Amazon

Add to Goodreads → here

Author Information: Theresa Braun & Mr. Deadman

Wallace Boothill ~ Theresa Braun ~ S.J. Budd ~ Gary Buller ~ S.E. Casey ~ Mr. Deadman ~ Calvin Demmer ~ Philip Kleaver ~ Sylvia Mann ~ W.C. Marchese ~ John Palisano ~ Christopher Powers ~ Leo X. Robertson ~ M.R. Tapia

Giveaway

4 Digital Copies of “Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist”

Enter Here!

Blitz-Wide Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card

Enter here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read an excerpt of Engaged in trouble, a #cozymystery from @JenBJones #giveaway

Engaged-in-Trouble-Kindle

Title: Engaged in Trouble

Author: Jenny B. Jones

Genre: Cozy Mystery, 1st in Series

Published: March 30, 2017

~ Synopsis ~

When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.

Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldly property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.

Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.

This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.

Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.

Engaged in Trouble is the first book in the long-awaited Enchanted Events cozy mystery series by award-winning author Jenny B. Jones. If you like laugh-out-loud adventures, small-town romance, unforgettable, sassy characters, and a mystery to keep you guessing, then you’ll love this new page-turning series.

Grab a copy

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ iBooks ~ Nook

~ About Readers are Saying ~

 Funny and fast-fast paced, this is a great cozy. ~The Book’s the Thing

Engaged in Trouble was a super fun and quirky cozy mystery! The story/plot fast paced full of twists and turns and surprises that kept this reader captivated from the very beginning. ~My Reading Journeys

This book is a combo of chick lit and cozy mystery. Humor is spread throughout the book with mystery and a touch of romance. It’s a quick read with “laugh-out-loud” fun. ~Socrates’ Book Reviews…

~ Excerpt ~

In Engaged in Trouble, Paisley Sutton, gets a bit of good luck—inheriting her great-aunt’s musty, dusty wedding planning business. But in true Paisley form, bad luck soon follows—stumbling upon a dead customer. I thought I’d share chapter from from the novel so we could peek in on Paisley just as everything’s about to fall apart…

“The witching hour begins at noon today.” Henry handed me a coffee as soon as I entered his office the next morning.

I inhaled the comforting scent and took my first sip. “Do I even want to know what you’re talking about?”

“Sasha Chandler. She has a twelve o’clock appointment for her cake tasting. The Measuring Cup Bakery brings samples daily, so our brides can taste test here.

“Two days in a row of this WBE (worst bride ever). Are you sure you’re not trying to run me off?”

“The town is abuzz of your throwdown with Evan Holbrook yesterday.”

“Discussion. We merely had a discussion.” A very loud one. In which I did all the talking.

“Well, the newspaper’s already called for a statement, so back off on the public meltdowns during company hours, okay? I did not deliver this place from a ‘granny’s scary basement’ reputation to see it transcend into a ‘Jerry Springer’s loudest episode’ reputation. Am I clear? This is a business, not a reality show.”

“Yes, sir. And I found out today is Alice’s birthday, so do something nice for her.”

Henry scrunched his nose. “Like what?”

“I’ll email you some ideas, Mr. Crabby.”

“I’m not jumping out of a cake.”

“And for that she’s probably grateful.” I plucked a glass bottle of champagne from my bag and set it on his desk. “Here’s my idea. We offer a coffee service until noon, then champagne ’til closing. What do you think?” My red fingernail tapped the label. “It’s even locally sourced.”

Henry nodded slowly. “The idea has potential. We can do a trial period. But let’s get back to Sasha Chandler.”

“Maybe some Sugar Creek label champagne will help her disposition.” Or a lobotomy. Whatever. “Good luck to the poor soul who deals with her today.”

He sat down at his computer and tapped at his keyboard. “That would be you.”

I sputtered on a swallow of coffee. “I don’t think so.”

“I do,” he said. “She’s our only cake tasting today, and I want you to see how it works. Cupcakes representing the cake choices are delivered by ten each day. You’ll need to review your notes in the binder on this, of course.”

“I don’t want to brag, but I know cake.” Mostly the eating of it. “Let someone else take this.”

Henry raised one dark eyebrow. “Why?”

“Because she’s my ex-fiancé’s fiancée. Something you no doubt knew.”

“Maybe.” He brushed a piece of lint from his charcoal pants. “Even if I wanted to help you, I can’t. I have a twelve o’clock with the mayor’s daughter, Layla’s out sick, and everyone else has appointments. It’s all you.”

I rested my forehead on the desk. “I should fire you.”

“Uh-huh.” He chuckled. “I dare you to try it. By the way, I’ll have you a desk here by the end of the day. We’ll share the office.”

“Can we put a couch in here for twice-daily naps? Maybe a lava lamp or two?”

At my suggestion of a jumbo TV and popcorn machine, he walked out.

The next two hours passed with my shadowing Henry. He gave me a crash course in our payment plans, the latest trends in wedding themes, and updated me on local venues. I watched him diffuse a powder keg of a momma not getting her way, deal with two suppliers who were late on shipments, then give one of our employees a talking to for being repeatedly late. Though his tone could be a little harsh, the man had business skill coming out his every pore. Meanwhile, I was saturated with information and completely overwhelmed. This was a lot harder than learning a melody and shaking my tush behind Jaz on stage. Not that tush-shaking didn’t have its challenges.

“Okay, you’re up,” Henry said as twelve o’clock neared. “The Dragon Bride’s in the parlor room.”

“Henry—”

“You tend to Sasha today, and I’ll make sure it’s the last time. You’re taking one for the team, and your staff knows it.”

“Fine. But I’d feel better going in with a garlic necklace or holy water.”

The parlor was a cozy room with antique dining chairs around a few white tables. Pale sage walls hosted framed vintage bridal prints and white chandeliers hung from the ceiling. Violin music softly played, and the air smelled of sugar and dreams.

Sasha Chandler sat in one of those chairs.

I approached her like a woman given the task of routing a bear from its cave. “Good afternoon.”

She looked up, and I expected hate to flare from her pretty brown eyes and venom to spew from her lips.

But she simply said, “Hello.”

I set a flute of bubbly champagne on her table. “So. . . I’m sorry for the scene with Evan yesterday. I can’t stand your fiancé, but I want you to know that it won’t affect the service you’ll receive at Enchanted Events.” I recited the words Henry had written out for me to memorize. “You’ll still get the same top notch care from the staff here, and—” I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t continue with the drivel. “Look, I’m just gonna go grab the cupcakes, okay?”

She mutely nodded before picking up her champagne. Her hand shook slightly as she lifted it to her lips and drank. The entire thing.

I paused at the door. “Um, Miss Chandler, is everything okay?”

She swiped at her eyes and sniffed. “Just go get the cake.”

I returned a short while later with a plate of cupcakes and gave her the schpiel I’d been coached to say. “The Measuring Cup Bakery has prepared a selection of five cake samples for you today. We have the white cake with a layer of strawberry—”

“First of all, stay away from Evan.” Sasha’s voice snapped with fierce warning. “Never speak to him again. And second, bring me some more of this.” She tapped her empty glass. “I think I can handle handle tasting cake without your hovering.”

“Oh.” What a peach this one was. She and Evan deserved each other.

I stomped back into the staff kitchen, whipped open the refrigerator, and grabbed the bottle of champagne. That woman! That arrogant, shrew of a woman. Who was she to talk to me like that? The way she treated people was deplorable. How had she survived high school without being stuffed in a locker?

Taking the long way back to the parlor, I made a detour through the shop and greeted a few brides. I had a lovely conversation with a teary-eyed grandmother who had the honor of being her granddaughter’s matron of honor, before assisting another customer as they picked out napkins for an engagement party.

Fifteen glorious minutes later, the champagne and I returned to the parlor.

Where I found the bride facedown in her icing.

“Sasha?”

Rushing to her, I lifted her head and did not like what I saw.

“Sasha, wake up.” I swiped the dueling colors of icing from her face. “Someone help us! Call 9-1-1! Henry!” She wasn’t breathing. I whispered a prayer for help. For divine intervention. For the girl to open her eyes, draw a deep breath, and say something cutting and cruel.

“Paisley, what in the—” Henry rushed into the room, his whole body jerking to a stop as he took in the chaotic scene. “What’s happened?”

I slid my hand up Sasha’s neck and groped for a pulse.

And found none.

I met Henry frightened gaze.

“I think we just lost a bride.”

~ About the Author ~

View More: http://iloverkd.pass.us/jennyjones

Award-winning, best-selling author Jenny B. Jones writes romance, cozies, and YA with sass and Southern charm. Since she has very little free time, Jenny believes in spending her spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits, such as eating ice cream, watching puppy videos, and reading celebrity gossip. She lives in the beautiful state of Arkansas and has worked in public education for half of forever.  She loves bluegrass, a good laugh, and strong tea. She adores hearing from readers.

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Read an excerpt of The Mentor, a new #thriller #mystery from @LeeMatthewG

The Mentor

Title: THE MENTOR

Author: Lee Matthew Goldberg

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 336

Genre: Thriller / Suspense / Mystery

Synopsis

Kyle Broder has achieved his lifelong dream and is an editor at a major publishing house.

When Kyle is contacted by his favorite college professor, William Lansing, Kyle couldn’t be happier. Kyle has his mentor over for dinner to catch up and introduce him to his girlfriend, Jamie, and the three have a great time. When William mentions that he’s been writing a novel, Kyle is overjoyed. He would love to read the opus his mentor has toiled over.

Until the novel turns out to be not only horribly written, but the most depraved story Kyle has read.

After Kyle politely rejects the novel, William becomes obsessed, causing trouble between Kyle and Jamie, threatening Kyle’s career, and even his life. As Kyle delves into more of this psychopath’s work, it begins to resemble a cold case from his college town, when a girl went missing. William’s work is looking increasingly like a true crime confession.

Lee Matthew Goldberg’s The Mentor is a twisty, nail-biting thriller that explores how the love of words can lead to a deadly obsession with the fate of all those connected and hanging in the balance.

PRAISE FOR THE MENTOR:

From Booklist – A junior editor at a Manhattan publisher reunites with his college mentor with disastrous results in Goldberg’s second thriller (after Slow Down, 2015). Kyle Broder has just acquired a probable best-seller for Burke & Burke publishing when he hears from his former literature professor, William Lansing, who pitches the still-unfinished opus he’s been working on for 10 years. Lansing’s book is not only badly written, it’s also disturbing, featuring a narrator literally eating the heart of the woman he loves. Lansing turns vengeful when his “masterpiece” is rejected, but Broder’s concerns about his mentor are dismissed both at home and at work: Broder’s girlfriend considers Lansing charming, and a rival editor feigns interest in Lansing’s book. Broder revisits his college and delves more deeply into the cold case of a missing ex-girlfriend, and as the plot darkens and spirals downward, it’s unclear who will be left standing. The compelling plot is likely to carry readers with a high enough tolerance for gore to the final twist at the end.

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Excerpt

FROM FAR AWAY the trees at Bentley College appeared as if on fire, crowns of nuclear leaves dotting the skyline. Professor William Lansing knew it meant that fall had firmly arrived. Once October hit, the Connecticut campus became festooned with brilliant yellows, deep reds, and Sunkist orange nature. People traveled for miles to witness the foliage, rubbernecking up I-95 and flocking to nearby Devil’s Hopyard, a giant park where the students might perform Shakespeare, or enter its forest gates at nighttime to get high and wild. William had taken a meandering hike through its labyrinthine trails that morning before his seminar on Existential Ethics in Literature. It had been over a decade since he’d entered its tree-lined arms, but today, the very day he was reaching the part in his long-gestating novel that took place in Devil’s Hopyard, seemed like a fitting time to return.

His wife Laura hadn’t stirred when he left at dawn. He slipped out of bed and closed the mystery novel propped open on her snoring chest. He often wrote early in the mornings. Before the world awoke, he’d arm himself with a steaming coffee and a buzzing laptop, the wind from off the Connecticut River pinching his cheeks. His chirping backyard would become a den of inspiration, or he’d luxuriate in the silence of Bentley at six a.m. when the only sound might be a student or two trundling down the Green to sleep off a fueled night of debauchery.

He’d been at Bentley for over twenty years, tenured and always next in line to be department chair. He refused even the notion of the position for fear it might eat into time spent writing his opus. His colleagues understood this mad devotion. They too had their sights set on publications, most of them well regarded in journals, only a few of them renowned beyond Bentley’s walls like William dreamed to be. Notoriety had dazzled him since he was a child—a time when his world seemed small and lifeless and dreams of fame were his only escape.

His colleagues often questioned him about this elusive manuscript he’d been toiling on for years, but he found it best to remain tight-lipped, to entice mystery. It was how he ran his classroom as well, letting only a few chosen students get close, keeping the rest at enough of a distance to regard him as tough and impenetrable but fair. Maybe he’d made a few students cry when a paper they stayed up all night to finish received a failing grade, or when his slashes of red pen seemed to consume one of their essays on Sartre’s Nausea, which he found trite and pedestrian; but that only made them want to do better the next time. They understood that he wanted his kingdom to be based on fear, for creativity soared in times of distress.

William’s legs were sore after his hike that morning through Devil’s Hopyard. The terrain was hilly and its jagged trails would challenge even a younger man, but he kept fit, wearing his fifty-five year old frame well. He was an athlete back in school, a runner and a boxer who still kept a punching bag in the basement and ended his day with a brisk run through his town of Killingworth, a blue-collar suburban enclave surrounding Bentley’s college-on-a-hill. He had all his hair, which was more than he could say for most of his peers, even though silver streaks now cut through the brown. He secretly believed this made him more dashing than during his youth. Women twenty years younger still gave him a second glance, and he often found Laura taking his hand at department functions and squeezing it tight, as if to indicate that she fully claimed him and there’d be no chance for even the most innocent of flirtations. He had a closet full of blazers with elbow patches and never wore ties so he could keep his collar open and expose his chest hair, which hadn’t turned white yet. He had a handsome and regal face, well proportioned, and while his eyes drooped some due to a lifetime of battling insomnia, it gave him the well-worn look of being entirely too busy to sleep. People often spoke of him as a soul who never enjoyed being idle, someone who was always moving, expounding, and expanding.

“Hi, Professor Lansing,” said Nathaniel, a tall and gangly freshman, who after three weeks into the semester had yet to look William in the eye. Nathaniel’s legs twisted over one another with each step. William guessed that the boy had recently grown into his pole-like body and his brain now struggled with how to move it properly.

“Nathaniel,” William said, wiping the sweat mustache from his top lip. He could smell his own lemony perspiration from the intense jaunt through Devil’s Hopyard. “How did your paper on The Stranger turn out?”

Nathaniel’s eyes seemed to avoid him even more. They became intent on taking in the colorful foliage, as if it had sprouted overnight.

“Well…” the boy began, still a hair away from puberty, his voice hitting a high octave, “I’m not totally sure what you meant about Meursault meeting his end because he didn’t ‘play the game’.”

William responded with a throaty laugh and a shake of his head. He placed a palm on Nathaniel’s shoulder.

“Society’s game, Nathaniel, the dos and don’ts we all must ascribe to. How, even if we slip on occasion, we’re not supposed to admit what we did for fear of being condemned. Right?”

Nathaniel nodded, his rather large Adam’s apple bobbing up and down in agreement too. He stuffed a bitten-down nail between his chapped lips and chewed away like a rat, leaving William to wonder if the boy was on some new-fangled type of speed. He liked Nathaniel, who barely spoke in class, but once in a while would give a nervous peep filled with promise. The students he paid the most attention to weren’t the heads of the lacrosse team or the stars of the theater productions, those students would have a million other mentors fawning over them. He looked for the hidden jewels, the ones who were waiting for that extra push, who’d been passed over their whole lives but would someday excel past their peers. Then they would thank him wholeheartedly for igniting a spark.

“Is that why Camus didn’t personalize the victim that Meursault killed?” Nathaniel asked, wary at first, as the two entered the doors of Fanning Hall past a swirl of other students. “So we sympathize with him despite his crime?”

William stopped in front of his classroom, its cloudy window offering a haze of students settling into their desks. He stood blocking the door so Nathaniel had no choice but to look in his eyes.

“Did you sympathize with him?”

“Yes…umm, it’s hard to penalize someone for one mistake,” Nathaniel said. “I know he shot the Arab guy, but…I don’t know, sometimes things just happen. I guess that makes me callous.”

“Or human.”

William stared at Nathaniel for an uncomfortable extra few seconds before Kelsey, a pretty sorority girl with canary yellow hair, fluttered past them.

“Hey, Professor,” Kelsey said, without looking Nathaniel’s way. William could feel the boy’s sigh crowding the hallway.

“Come, Nathaniel, we’ll continue this debate in class.”

William led the boy into the room. The students immediately became hushed and rigid as he entered.

Nathaniel slumped into a chair in the back while Kelsey cut off another girl to get a prime seat up front.

William placed his leather satchel on the table, took out a red marker, and scribbled on the board, I didn’t know what a sin was. The handwriting looked like chicken scratch and the students had to squint a bit to decipher it; but eventually the entire class of twenty managed to correctly jot down the quote. They had gotten used to his idiosyncrasies.

“At the end of the novel, Meursault ponders that he didn’t know what a sin was,” William said. “What does that mean?”

A quarter of the class raised their hands, each one eager to be noticed. Kelsey clicked her tongue for attention, as if her desperation wasn’t obvious enough. She looked like she had to pee. In the back, Nathaniel was fully absorbed in a doodle that resembled Piglet from Winnie the Pooh.

“Nathaniel,” William barked, sending the pen flying out of the boy’s hand. Nathaniel weaved his long arms around the desk to pick up the pen and then gave a slack-jawed expression as a response.

“Why does Meursault insist to the chaplain that he didn’t know what a sin was?” William continued.

Nathaniel silently pleaded for William to call on someone else. He let out an “uuuhhhhhhh” that lasted through endless awkward seconds.

Kelsey took it upon herself to chime in.

“Professor, while Meursault understands he’s been found guilty for his crime, he doesn’t truly see that what he did was wrong.”

William turned toward Kelsey to admonish her for speaking without being called on, a nasty habit that happened more and more with this ADD-addled generation than the prior one, but a red-leaf tree outside the window captured his attention instead, its color so unreal, so absorbing. The red so vibrant like its leaves had been painted with blood.

“Professor…professor.”

The sound came from far away, as if hidden under the earth, screaming to be acknowledged.

“Professor Lansing?”

Kelsey waved her arm in his direction, grounding him. She gave a pout.

“Like, am I right, or what, Professor? He doesn’t truly see that what he did was wrong.”

William cleared his throat, maintaining control over the room. He smiled at them the same way he would for a photograph.

“Yes, that’s true, Kelsey. Expressing remorse would constitute his actions as wrong. He knows his views make him a stranger to society, and he is content with this judgment. He accepts death and looks forward to it with peace. The crowds will cheer hatefully at his beheading, but they will be cheering. This is what captivates the readers almost seventy years after the book’s publication. What keeps it and Camus eternal, immortal.”

Kelsey beamed at the class, her grin smug as ever.

William went to the board, erased the quote, and replaced it with the word IMMORTAL in big block letters, this time written with the utmost perfect penmanship.

About the Author

Lee Matthew Goldberg

Lee Matthew Goldberg’s novel THE MENTOR is forthcoming from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press in June 2017 and has been acquired by Macmillan Entertainment. The French edition will be published by Editions Hugo. His debut novel SLOW DOWN is out now. His pilot JOIN US was a finalist in Script Pipeline’s TV Writing Competition. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his fiction has also appeared in The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, Verdad Magazine, BlazeVOX, and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series. He lives in New York City.

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